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Sources Causes Forms and Manifestations

UNITED NATIONS A, General Assembly Distr., GENERAL, A/ CONF. 189/…… 24 September 2001, Original: ENGLISH, WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE Durban, 31 August-8 September 2001, Adopted on 8 September 2001 in Durban, South Africa (Final Version Released on December 31, 2002)
EDITOR's Note: This document on this website has been reorganized around the themes of the conference. To obtain the original unedited version see:



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 Sources, causes, forms and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance


            13.            We acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, were appalling tragedies in the history of humanity not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude, organized nature and especially their negation of the essence of the victims, and further acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially the transatlantic slave trade and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences;

            14.            We recognize that colonialism has led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of colonialism and continue to be victims of its consequences.  We acknowledge the suffering caused by colonialism and affirm that, wherever and whenever it occurred, it must be condemned and its reoccurrence prevented.  We further regret that the effects and persistence of these structures and practices have been among the factors contributing to lasting social and economic inequalities in many parts of the world today;

            15.            We recognize that apartheid and genocide in terms of international law constitute crimes against humanity and are major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and acknowledge the untold evil and suffering caused by these acts and affirm that wherever and whenever they occurred, they must be condemned and their recurrence prevented;

            16.            We recognize that xenophobia against non-nationals, particularly migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, constitutes one of the main sources of contemporary racism and that human rights violations against members of such groups occur widely in the context of discriminatory, xenophobic and racist practices;

            17.            We note the importance of paying special attention to new manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to which youth and other vulnerable groups might be exposed;

            18.            We emphasize that poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization, social exclusion and economic disparities are closely associated with racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and contribute to the persistence of racist attitudes and practices which in turn generate more poverty;

            19.            We recognize the negative economic, social and cultural consequences of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which have contributed significantly to the underdevelopment of developing countries and, in particular, of Africa and resolve to free every man, woman and child from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty to which more than one billion of them are currently subjected, to make the right to development a reality for everyone and to free the entire human race from want;

            20.            We recognize that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are among the root causes of armed conflict and very often one of its consequences and recall that non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of international humanitarian law. We underscore the need for all parties to armed conflicts to abide scrupulously by this principle and for States and the international community to remain especially vigilant during periods of armed conflict and continue to combat all forms of racial discrimination;

            21.            We express our deep concern that socio-economic development is being hampered by widespread internal conflicts which are due, among other causes, to gross violations of human rights, including those arising from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and from lack of democratic, inclusive and participatory governance;

            22.            We express our concern that in some States political and legal structures or institutions, some of which were inherited and persist today, do not correspond to the multiethnic, pluricultural and plurilingual characteristics of the population and, in many cases, constitute an important factor of discrimination in the exclusion of indigenous peoples;

            23.            We fully recognize the rights of indigenous peoples consistent with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, and therefore stress the need to adopt the appropriate constitutional, administrative, legislative and judicial measures, including those derived from applicable international instruments;

            24.            We declare that the use of the term "indigenous peoples" in the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance is in the context of, and without prejudice to the outcome of, ongoing international negotiations on texts that specifically deal with this issue, and cannot be construed as having any implications as to rights under international law;

            25.            We express our profound repudiation of the racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance that persist in some States in the functioning of the penal systems and in the application of the law, as well as in the actions and attitudes of institutions and individuals responsible for law enforcement, especially where this has contributed to certain groups being over-represented among persons under detention or imprisoned;

            26.            We affirm the need to put an end to impunity for violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals and groups of individuals who are victimized by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

            27.            We express our concern that, beyond the fact that racism is gaining ground, contemporary forms and manifestations of racism and xenophobia are striving to regain political, moral and even legal recognition in many ways, including through the platforms of some political parties and organizations and the dissemination through modern communication technologies of ideas based on the notion of racial superiority;

            28.            We recall that persecution against any identifiable group, collectivity or community on racial, national, ethnic or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, as well as the crime of apartheid, constitute serious violations of human rights and, in some cases, qualify as crimes against humanity;

            29.            We strongly condemn the fact that slavery and slavery-like practices still exist today in parts of the world and urge States to take immediate measures as a matter of priority to end such practices, which constitute flagrant violations of human rights;

            30.            We affirm the urgent need to prevent, combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children, and recognize that victims of trafficking are particularly exposed to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

            31.            We also express our deep concern whenever indicators in the fields of, inter alia, education, employment, health, housing, infant mortality and life expectancy for many peoples show a situation of disadvantage, particularly where the contributing factors include racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related  intolerance;

Programme of Action

            1.            Urges States in their national efforts, and in cooperation with other States, regional and international organizations and financial institutions, to promote the use of public and private investment in consultation with the affected communities in order to eradicate poverty, particularly in those areas in which victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance predominantly live;

            2.            Urges States to take all necessary and appropriate measures to end enslavement and contemporary forms of slavery-like practices, to initiate constructive dialogue among States and implement measures with a view to correcting the problems and the damage resulting therefrom;


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